Plastic recycling: Future scenarios and behavioral influences

Five articles discuss future recycling and/or consumer waste sorting; outline future recycling technologies and recycled plastic applications; identify gaps between recycling technologies and targets of multi-material multilayer plastic packaging; find consumers wrongly dispose bioplastics and that packaging design affects sorting behavior; show single-use bag bans able to increase recycling contamination

2021 FPF Workshop: Tools to prioritize societal health

On the third day of the Food Packaging Forum’s annual workshop, speakers discuss the new Understanding Packaging Scorecard that helps improve packaging procurement decision making, how regulators assess food packaging in the lab and on the market, new projects investigating plastics, and how understanding game theory in group decision making can lead to societal benefits

Critical review discusses biobased plastics

Article evaluates pros, cons, and improvement potential of biobased polymers looking at production, end-of-life, environmental, and toxicological impacts; regards bioplastics as promising alternative but not without issues; emphasizes importance of considering economic, social, environmental, and legislative issues when scaling up biobased plastics

Studies examine bio-based active packaging and drivers to mitigate pollution

Literature review explores opportunities of bio-based active materials in food packaging applications and the circular economy; demonstrates high research interest in the topic over last 20 years; finds agro-industrial waste as promising, renewable, and environmentally friendly resource for bio-based materials; study finds circular economy to be the focus of perspective articles to mitigate plastic pollution but mismatch with psychosocial research

SAPEA investigates consumer perceptions of biodegradable plastics

Multidisciplinary panel by Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) discusses how consumers perceive biodegradable plastics; reviews how communication can support management and proper disposal; identifies market and policy options to increase awareness

Reviews examine biobased polymers

Several recent reviews examine the value chain of biobased polymers; discuss clarification of terms such as biobased, degradable, biodegradable, and compostable; define “biotechnological recycling (bio-recycling)” as the use of enzymes and microorganisms in a technological setting to biodegrade polymers; three biodegradable polymers assessed in marine field trials

CVORR analysis: Bio-based vs. conventional plastics

Scientists compile matrix to compare the sustainability impacts of fossil carbon-based with bio-based plastics in the food packaging value chain; apply Complex Value Optimization for Resource Recovery (CVORR) base-line analysis, social, economic, environmental, technical metrics; study highlights knowledge gaps; discusses land-use change, chemical migration, eco-labels, biodegradability standards

Studies investigate circular economy barriers, consumer perceptions

Recent set of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals review current barriers in flexible plastics to achieving circular economy, recommends regulatory policies be tailored to individual steps in supply chain; consumers easily confused by plastic waste management system, recycling processes, biodegradability claims; researchers instead propose food system shift towards decentralization, shorter supply chains

China issues national standard for bio-materials

Sets definitions for 58 terms including “plastic”, “biodegradable plastic”, “composite”, and “polymer”; also defines process to mark and identify biobased materials; standard to become effective on June 1, 2021

EEA report presents pathways toward circular plastics economy

European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes report on plastics, their impact on the environment and climate, and their place in an EU circular economy; three joint pathways for achieving necessary change identified based on smarter use, increased circularity, and renewable raw material